I spoke with a helpful guy at a solar company here in the UK about my requirements and did a ton of research into various products. I think I now have a much better idea as to how I'm going to configure my power system in a modular fashion, so I can add to it in stages.Stage 1 - Base genverter system
Generator - something powered by a Yanmar L100 Diesel, such as SDMO SD6000E 6.5 Kva
Inverter/Charger - Outback VFX3024E
Batteries - flooded lead-acid deep cycle in series (reconditioned, about 45% of new cost)
DC-DC Converter - 24V to 12V, Step-down, 10A (for 12V lighting)
Inverter monitoring/control - Outback MateStage 2 (adding to stage 1) - Add small amount of PV for maintainance charging and small daytime loads
Solar Charge controller - Morningstar Tristar (can later be used as DC load controller when we upgrade the solar)
PV Panels - 2 panels of approx 220WStage 3 (adding to stage 1 & 2) - Rounding out the system
Solar Charge Controller - Outback FM60
DC Load Controller - Re-purpose the Tristar, replacing with new charge controller
PV Panels - 6 panels (ideally to match the existing 2)
System link - Outback Hub (links the inverter and charge controller for better management)Stage 4 - Strengthening the system
2nd battery bank (depending on time from stage 1, maybe 2 new sets)
PV Panels - 4-6 panels (ideally to match the existing
Stage 1 will fulfill the basic power requirements while living on site and building the house. I will use 12V LED lighting connected to the battery bank by the DC-DC converter. Ideally we would use a load controller, to prevent over discharge of the battery bank. Since the load from the 12V lighting will be very low and I'll be careful :-).
I've sourced some LED lights from Ikea for about $15. They are 3W and have a bendy neck. They come with a 2-pin DIN connector (like old speakers) that connects to the supplied 12V transformer. I'll build a circuit using some low cost project boxes and 2-pin DIN outlets. That way the system can be flexible and lights can be moved around as necessary.
I've have also found some 12V LED floodlights for the outside. These are 10W units and a supposed to equal a 100W halogen flood. In total my 12V yurt lighting system will be less than 40W, if all lights are on at once!
I will install standard 240V outlets to run off the inverter. All the cabling for AC and DC will run under the wooden platform the yurt sit atop of.
If I can afford it, I will do stage 1 and 2 together. Since I won't be on site for some extended periods, the addition of some solar will mean the generator can be disconnected (and locked away safely, so it doesn't sprout legs), and the batteries can be kept healthy by the solar panels performing a maintenance charge. The cost of stage 2 I'm estimating around $850-1000.
Stage 1 is where the bulk of the expenditure will be. That's looking at around $7500 right now. 60% of that cost is the generator, but I've had so much advise about not cheaping out on the generator if I want it to last. I'm not usually one for false economy.
The one area I'm willing to go a little cheap is on the batteries. Since this will be my first off-grid experience. I'd sooner learn with less expensive batteries that may have a shorter life, since I will probably make some mistakes along the way as I learn, that will shorten their life anyway!